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August Honeymoon in Provence - Avignon, Lourmarin, Bonnieux, Lex Baux de Provence

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This trip is very much a compromise between me and my fiancé. The first four nights in either Cannes or Saint-Tropez for her...and the next six nights in Provence for me. Recommendations on my proposed itinerary below are greatly appreciated.

Avignon, Bonnieux, or Les Baux de Provence:

After relaxing on the beach in either Cannes or Saint-Tropez, we drive to Provence for 6 nights (Saturday through Friday) and stay either:
• Avignon -- La Marinde, or
• Bonnieux -- Bastide de Capelongue, or
• Lex Baux de Provence -- L'Oustau de Baumanière or La Cabro D'Or.

Dinners - La Beaugravière, Serge Chenet, , Auberge La Fenière, Chez Rabanel, L'Oustau de Baumanière

Wineries - Beaucastel, Chene Bleu, Domaine La Barroche,

lunches/things to do:-
1. L'Oustalet (followed by a walk at Dentelles Montmirail)
2. La Bartavelle (along with a visit to the village of Goult and a walk to the falaise in Lioux)
3. Auberge de la Loube (with a visit to the Fort de Buoux)
4. Auberge du Presbytere in Saignon
5. rent a canoe from Collias to go up to Pont du Gard
6. walk through the Luberon valley (Parc Naturel Regional du Luberon)
7. day trip to Valence for visit to Chapoutier, St Peray hike up to the castle ruins, and dinner at Restaurant Pic

8. Markets:
a. Vaison-la-Romaine
b. Sunday market at L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
c. Friday market in Lourmarin

anything I've missed? anything I've included and should cut?

Merci!

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  1. August is just about the worst time of year to be in Provence. In fact, it gets so crowded with tourists and Europeans "au vacances" that most of my friends who live there leave!

    That said, if you're determined, I would make my reservations NOW, if you haven't already, so you can get some at least of what you want to do/eat/stay at.

    #7. That's a lot for one day and plan to drive back. I'd stay overnight in Valence.

    On my must-do list would be Les Baux - lunch at Oustau de Baumaniere on their terrace (TERRIBLY romantic), Sunday picnic at Fontaine de Vaucluse where Petrarch wooed Laura (it's not far from Isle sur la Sorgue), dinner at Bistro du Paradou.

    The Roman ruins at Glanum (near St. Remy) are spectacular, and so is the walk at the Hospice de St. Joseph, where Van gogh lived when he painted some of his best works. You will see where he stood when he painted Starry Nights and Sunflowers.

    1. August is brutal, as June said.
      This thread is the bible for all Provence honeymooners:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781261

      4 Replies
      1. re: Parigi

        Avignon is awesome. Enjoy.

        1. re: boshtx

          boshtx, I agree that Avignon is awesome, but the OP didn't include it in his itinerary.

          1. re: boshtx

            Avignon is a mess end of July and August. We've done it, and we loved it (actually we stayed across the river, which was much calmer), but I think staying someplace smaller is the best way to go, if you have to go in August. Could you maybe hold off on the honeymoon a month or two? Because even other parts of France are totally packed (Annecy was another place where we sat in traffic for hours during that time) that time of year.

            1. re: LulusMom

              Totally agree re Avignon.
              I'd go slightly more east, to the lovely village of Cucuron, which manages to be relatively calm even in the hectic months, and maintains its local village life, supported by great butchers and eateries.

        2. All good addresses, but you need 3 weeks, not 6 days, to do all of them !

          "stay either:
          • Avignon -- La Marinde, or
          • Bonnieux -- Bastide de Capelongue, or
          • Lex Baux de Provence -- L'Oustau de Baumanière or La Cabro D'Or."

          I will respectfully disagree with the others. Avignon is a pleasant Provence town. Especially if you don't have a car, Avignon will be the nice Provence town to stay. But if you have a car and can visit the otherwise unreachable perched villages, don't settle for just pleasant. Go for the intoxicating. Hands down, I would stay in Bonnieux, especially the Capelongue (and never leave). But reserve now.

          Cabro d'Or is very romantic. But in my brief reading of what you want to visit, the destinations tend to be toward the northern part of Provence. Staying in the Luberon would make more sense.

          "Dinners - La Beaugravière, Serge Chenet, , Auberge La Fenière, Chez Rabanel, L'Oustau de Baumanière"

          If you stay in Bonnieux, it is logistically difficult to drive to Arles and have a 4-hour long dinner at Rabanel and drive back, even though I am a die-hard Rabanel fan. For your extremely short trip, you don't want to spend most time driving instead of experiencing, right? What's wrong with Capelongue's exellent Michelin-starred cuisine?

          "Wineries - Beaucastel, Chene Bleu, Domaine La Barroche,"

          If you stay in Bonnieux, you can visit Chène Bleu on your way to or back from the Vaison market, and along the way also visit Venasque and Abbaye de Sénanque.
          But right outside Bonnieux, on one of the low roads to Apt are several very good and enchanting vineyards. You may want to play it by ear. If you don't mind the horrific August traffic, then by all means drive to Vaison and back. If the traffic gets to you, stick to the IslS market and all the beautiful villages around Bonnieux (Goult, Lacoste, Ménerbes, Venasque, Lourmarin, Ansouis, Saignon). Visiting two beautiful villages a day, with a good meal in between, will easily fill your 5 days (am computing one day reserved for your Pont du Gard plan. More later…)

          "lunches/things to do:-
          1. L'Oustalet (followed by a walk at Dentelles Montmirail)"

          Which Oustalet? That is a common name. Nearly every village has a restaurant with that name.

          "2. La Bartavelle (along with a visit to the village of Goult and a walk to the falaise in Lioux)"

          My fave resto in the Luberon. But dinner atmosphere is better. And it's a very short ride back to Bonnieux.

          "4. Auberge du Presbytere in Saignon"

          Again, atmosphere-wise I consider a dinner place. Again, short ride back to Bonnieux.

          Wait, that's a lot of lunches and dinners. Having a real restaurant lunch and a real restaurant dinner every day is a lot. One major meal a day is plenty. And do bear in mind that all the good restaurants you go to will take at least 2 hours per meal (2.5 hours for Bartavel, 3-4 for Rabanel). Provence and its restaurants can't be hurried. Do you really want to spend so much time à table during your 6 days?

          "5. rent a canoe from Collias to go up to Pont du Gard"

          Excellent. Best way to approach Pont du Gard. You'll be so shocked by its beauty be sure not to fall off your boat.

          "6. walk through the Luberon valley (Parc Naturel Regional du Luberon)"

          That's a voeux pieux, I'm afraid. You won't have time. All the enchanting villages will afford plenty of walks, with the most beautiful scenery.

          "7. day trip to Valence for visit to Chapoutier, St Peray hike up to the castle ruins, and dinner at Restaurant Pic"

          Long drive there. Long drive back. Why would you leave beautiful Luberon, give up on what you would be able to visit nearby, brave the traffic to see other sites? Do you mainly want to see the motorways of Provence?

          In your 6 days in Provence, say you stay in Bonnieux, you want to spend a day in Arles, a day in Pont du Gard. That leaves 4 days.Do you reallize how much there is to see in the Luberon? Do you really want to spend a day in Vaison and the vineyards there? Another day way north in Valence? Another day hiking? that leaves one day to see the half a dozen listed plus beaux villages near you, never mind the rest. It seems you will be zigzagging everyday on busy roads, always wishing you were somewhere else.

          "8. Markets:
          a. Vaison-la-Romaine
          b. Sunday market at L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
          c. Friday market in Lourmarin"

          a and b are very similar, with many of the same vendors. a is a long drive from Bonnieux (even longer if you stay in the other places further south).
          I go to those markets every year. While I used to be overwhelmed by a and b, I have found them somewhat less authentic in recent years. And traffic-wise they are quite impratiquables in June/September. I can't imagine them in August.
          It it were my honeymoon, I would make great use of the beautiful places near Bonnieux, the vineyards, the markets, the restaurants, and avoid long drives hat flare tempers and ruin romanticism.

          Coustellet has a more authentic market, for those who cook at home. If you are staying in a hotel and mainly want to see a marché provençal for charcuteries, herbs, fabrics, soaps, the Friday morning ones in Bonnieux or Lourmarin are quite nice.

          Cannes/St Tropez are going to be abject in August. Please don't torture yourselves. A honeymoon should not be a world of pain.

          On the coast you may want to stay in one of those beautiful - and quieter - perched villages like Roquebrune, Biot, Haut de Cagnes (great eats), Saint Agnès, where you are near enough the coast and see that azur without being inside the grind.

          In conclusion, you seem to be underestimating the distances covered and the August traffic and, worse, August crowd. You may want to use Viamichelin or Google map to calculate your driving time, and add about 25% to 40% to the time calculations.
          Spending 6 days in Provence with your loved one is a dream come true. Don't turn it into a marathon endurance test.
          :-)

          18 Replies
          1. re: Parigi

            My Lord, l am in awe of your knowledge. Datophone, listen to Parigi, she knows her stuff. OTOH, l do remember a dinner at Pic, it was a true wow. And Sophie is a delight.

            1. re: Parigi

              <Les Baux de Provence -- L'Oustau de Baumanière or La Cabro D'Or."> La Riboto de Taven is also a lovely place to stay in Les Baux. Good food, too.

              1. re: Parigi

                I am deeply appreciative, Parigi - I did not anticipate the amount of travel required in my plans. I have revised them per your recommendations.

                Saturday
                Drive to Bonnieux -- Bastide de Capelongue -- and have dinner at the hotel

                Sunday
                1. Market at L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
                2. picnic at Fontaine de Vaucluse (too far?)
                3. dinner at Auberge La Fenière

                Monday
                1. Drive to Goult and a walk to the falaise in Lioux
                2. dinner at La Bartavelle

                Tuesday
                1. wineries near Apt
                2. tour Saignon
                3. dinner at Auberge du Presbytere

                Wednesday
                1a. either deal w/ traffic at head to CDP to visit the bigger wineries -- or --
                1b. tour Lacoste & Menerbes
                2. other dinner suggestions near the hotel in Bonnieux?

                Thursday (is this too much??)
                1. check out/depart early from hotel in Bonnieux and drive to Collias
                2. rent a canoe from Collias to go up to Pont du Gard
                3. drive to Arles
                4. dinner at Chez Rabanel
                5. stay the night in Arles at L'Hotel Particulier

                Friday
                Train/Flight to Paris :(

                1. re: datopone

                  "Sunday
                  1. Market at L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
                  2. picnic at Fontaine de Vaucluse (too far?)
                  3. dinner at Auberge La Fenière"

                  Fontaine de Vaucluse is not too far. It is just … overrun and sans interêt.

                  You are going west of Bonnieux, then going southeast. Try to visit in clusters and minimize zigzagging.

                  If you are dining in Lourmarin. What may more logistical sense is, for the morning:
                  - not visit Isle sur la Sorgue,
                  - visit the Apt morning market which is great, and get a picnic there,
                  - or have the enchanting lunch at the Ferme-Auberge Le Castelas in Sivergues. -- Big lunch and big dinner. Hmm, problem. If I must choose only one meal, it would be Le Castelas. There's no setting like it. It's land's end in Provence. The lunch is very good. A little goat may jump on your talbe.
                  - visit Ansouis and the Val Joanis vineyard-garden in Perthuis. A.Bourdain has discovered it. Visit it before the entire northern California gets there.
                  - Late afternoon. You think you can pack a dinner? You are very near Lourmarin and the Auberge La Fénière.

                  On the road between Bonnieux and Lourmarin, finding this archeological mystery of a bridge, with a shell-patterned side, would be a great thrill. It is right outside Bonnieux on the road south.
                  http://compagnonnage.info/blog/blogs/...

                  "Monday
                  1. Drive to Goult and a walk to the falaise in Lioux
                  2. dinner at La Bartavelle"

                  Visit of Lacoste and Menerbes can be grouped here.

                  "Tuesday
                  1. wineries near Apt
                  2. tour Saignon
                  3. dinner at Auberge du Presbytere"

                  A village not far way with good eats is Caseneuve. Le Sanglier Paresseux is one of the most exciting restaurants in the Luberon today. I love, love the Auberge du Presbytère, more for an afternoon coffe or a pre-dinner apéritif. Caseneuve is only one village away…

                  "Wednesday
                  1a. either deal w/ traffic at head to CDP to visit the bigger wineries -- or --
                  1b. tour Lacoste & Menerbes
                  2. other dinner suggestions near the hotel in Bonnieux?"

                  If you have visited Ménerbes and Lacoste Monday, and have given up Isle sl Sorghe, you can:
                  - either drive up to Vaison
                  - or visit other beautiful villages in the Luberon.

                  "Thursday (is this too much??
                  )1. check out/depart early from hotel in Bonnieux and drive to Collias
                  2. rent a canoe from Collias to go up to Pont du Gard
                  3. drive to Arles
                  4. dinner at Chez Rabanel
                  5. stay the night in Arles at L'Hotel Particulier"

                  If you stay the night in Arles, this can work.
                  For your canoe picnic, on your drive west on the D900 in the morning, you can get all the picnic food conveniently at the very good delicatessen of Maison Gouin in Coustellet on the way, Try to exercise some self-control and not buy everything. Don't forget to visit the beautiful wine cellar and take a photo.

                  An hotel in Arles which is an institution is the Nord Pinus, which some American visitors call North Penis. A very special honeymoon thing to do would be, in my warped mind, to book the room where Charlotte rampling posed nude on a desk for Helmut Newton…
                  http://www.iwanttobeacoppola.com/stor...

                  In the least, change to your fine clothes and have a pre-dinner drink in the Nord Pinus bar. Arles is not complete without it.

                  Please write back and don't do a "spybarnes" (his thread can be found by search function).

                  1. re: Parigi

                    thank you soo much Parigi!! I will most definitely follow up with a full report...and pictures of the shell bridge! I am very excited for this trip.

                    Saturday
                    Drive to Bonnieux -- Bastide de Capelongue -- and have dinner at the hotel

                    Sunday
                    1. Visit the Apt morning market, and get a small picnic there to go (save for dinner)
                    2. Late lunch at the Ferme-Auberge Le Castelas in Sivergue
                    3. Visit Ansouis and the Val Joanis vineyard-garden in Perthuis

                    Monday
                    1. Visit Lacoste and Menerbes
                    2. Drive to Goult and a walk to the falaise in Lioux
                    3. dinner at La Bartavelle in Goult

                    Tuesday
                    1. wineries near Apt
                    2. tour Saignon
                    3. pre-dinner apertif at Auberge du Presbytere in Saignon
                    4. dinner in Caseneuve at Le Sanglier Paresseux

                    Wednesday
                    1. either drive up to Vaison -- or visit other villages in the Luberon
                    2. dinner at Auberge La Fenière

                    Thursday
                    1. depart early from hotel in Bonnieux and drive to Collias
                    2. pick up food from Maison Gouin in Coustellet for picnic later
                    3. rent a canoe from Collias to go up to Pont du Gard
                    4. drive to Arles
                    5. dinner at Chez Rabanel
                    6. stay the night in Arles at Nord Pinus

                    Merci!

                    1. re: datopone

                      Looks very good.
                      Now is not too early to make reservations.
                      Kurtis's thread, which I recommended up thread, have many excellent backup options.
                      Looking forward to your report.
                      Lastly, congratulations on your honeymoon.

                    2. re: Parigi

                      I'm back after a very relaxing and totally amazing honeymoon. I've so much to write – a lot of food and wine were ingested, and will write a detailed blow by blow trip report, but wanted to quickly get back to everyone with my favorites of the trip, and a few other brief notes and observations. Thanks again for all your help & counsel.

                      1. Note: August was not at all too hot in the Luberon or too congested to enjoy. maybe coming from New York and having been raised in LA I have a different sense of hot/humid and congestion/traffic, but I found the Luberon to be temperately hot, and empty
                      2. Review: Best meal from start to end was at Capelongue, though they were the only restaurant to not have an English menu, which was annoying
                      3. Review: Best single item was a tie between the foie gras at Le Petite Cave, the sunflower truffle at Capelongue, and the rack of lamb at L’Arome
                      4. Observation: Most annoying award goes to the English – we had many encounters with groups of Brits at various restaurants, sites, etc., and found them to be vapidly arrogant and offensively loud
                      5. Review: There is really nothing to do or see in many of the towns we visited for dinner. For instance, we went to Goult 2 hours early for our dinner at La Bartavelle and ended up leaving after 30 minutes. The town was deserted aside from maybe 4-5 small groups of mostly French tourists, and a dozen or so locals. There were maybe 10 shops in the town, of which 5 were open
                      6. Review: The market at L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue was awesome…a highlight of the trip. I liked that it was mobbed…and there were ample stands to support all the people. Parking was easy – people are regularly coming & going from the lots so it’s just a matter of waiting a couple minutes in a lot nearby until someone leaves
                      7. Review: The canoe trip to the Pont du gard was a great way to spend the day
                      8. Review: The hike along the falaise at Lioux was long, but worthwhile, and offered a great way to see the real Luberon
                      9. Observation: Arles – a very cool mini-Paris. We spent only 1 night here, and I wish I had done 2 instead, and cut down the Luberon by 1 night. Really want to go back and explore this city.
                      10. Review: Best meal for the price was hands down Le Petit Cave. The food was fantastic. I easily could’ve eaten there 3 days in a row if we had spent more time in Luberon
                      11. Observation: In America tasting menus are restaurants’ devices to rip off their customers. In France, they’re the norm, and in many cases more reasonably priced than ordering individual items off the menu

                      1. re: datopone

                        Thank you so much for reporting back. Updates like yours are what keep this board going.

                        Glad you were not only unfazed by August in Luberon, you seem to find it downright leisurely. Well, my Hong Kong friends find Saturday night in Paris Latin Quarter nice and quiet too, so I getcha.

                        And you even find Isle sur la Sorgue parking easy ! You're real New Yorker, LOL.

                        "5. Review: There is really nothing to do or see in many of the towns we visited for dinner. For instance, we went to Goult 2 hours early for our dinner at La Bartavelle and ended up leaving after 30 minutes. The town was deserted aside from maybe 4-5 small groups of mostly French tourists, and a dozen or so locals. There were maybe 10 shops in the town, of which 5 were open"

                        Those Luberon villages, like Goult, are, well, villages. They are not village malls. For a village to have moer than 10 villages would smack of a tourist setup.

                        "Capelongue, though they were the only restaurant to not have an English menu, which was annoying...
                        Observation: Most annoying award goes to the English"

                        Hmm, in order not to annoy you, ideally restaurants should print up English menus for no one to read, except, well, you.
                        No wonder Sartre said l'enfer c'est l'autre.

                        Arles is one of my fave towns. Indeed it deserves more than a day-trip. Ideally the Arles-Pont du Gard-Uzès area really needs at least one whole week to explore. You can't do that if you are in the Luberon. Datopone, that will be for your anniversary trip next year. :-)
                        This is another point you make on which other hounds should take heed. Provence covers a very large area. From one area to another, the landscape changes, the feel changes. And whether you pick the Luberon or the Bouches du Rhone, Provence is much more than taking a pic in front of a postcard monument and hurrying back to the car, on to another postcard pose.
                        Only you know what your interests are, and you should orient your research and pick your base accordingly, in order not to regret later.

                        1. re: Parigi

                          Nicely summed up.

                          tb

                          1. re: Parigi

                            Oops, I meant "For a village to have more than 10 shops would smack of a tourist setup."
                            not
                            "For a village to have moer than 10 villages would smack of a tourist setup."

                            1. re: Parigi

                              "Provence is much more than taking a pic in front of a postcard monument and hurrying back to the car, on to another postcard pose." // depends what one is after. most villages were like Goult. I don't believe one needs to see too many of them...it is not as though there is historical or cultural significance attached like there is at say pont du gard. If you go to Saignon (the most charming of all the small villages we visited) and eat at le petit cave, one will have an adequate idea of what a Provincial villages is like, and may eat among the better of the Luberon restaurants.

                              We had a very special lunch at auberge de la loube - a Provincial feast of carrots, squash, tomatoes, cantaloupe with mint (most restaurants had something like this), tzatziki, beets, cous cous, hard boiled eggs, artichoke, hummus, eggplant, and caramelized onions that tasted more like honey than onions - where we sat next to a group (2 couples in their 50s-60s) of Brits (theme of the trip) who riddled off Luberon villages they'd visited juxtaposed to 1-2 word adjectives (e.g., good, bad, like, dislike) as though it were a grocery list. What's the point? I don't see what is to be gained from running to and from these villages regardless of whether one has 1 day or 1 month to spend in the luberon.

                              Don't get me wrong. We loved our time spent in the Luberon. We loved the food, the hike above Lioux, the market, the pool at the hotel relaxing with rose and French cheeses. I personally couldn't have spent any longer there than we did. But that's me.

                              1. re: Parigi

                                "Hmm, in order not to annoy you, ideally restaurants should print up English menus for no one to read, except, well, you.
                                No wonder Sartre said l'enfer c'est l'autre." //

                                Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. I of course do not expect a restaurant located deep in the French countryside to have an English menu. I would have thought, however, that a restaurant located in a hotel would. I speak enough French to pleasantly begin and end a conversation and courteously enter a store, restaurant, ask for directions, etc. I do not, however, have the command of French vocabulary required to digest a French menu such as Capelongue's. I attempted to use the Paris Food Lover's app by Patricia Wells on my iphone, but the amount of ingredients listed for each dish on the menu...well, made using the app annoying. I was annoyed, as was I'm sure the lovely waitress who tried to explain each item. An English menu would have been, well, less annoying.

                                As for the annoying Brits, they seemed to annoy just about everyone, including the nice young French couple dining next to us at Capelongue who asked to be moved to a table at the other side of the restaurant in search of respite - and in response to which one of the young British diners cried sarcastically, "Daddy, I think we've ruined their date." Because we did not want to be a further annoyance to our lovely waitress, my wife and I did not complain, and instead listened in shock to their lesson in ignoramus.

                                1. re: datopone

                                  I think that you can find rude in just about any culture on the planet. I don't know that it's fair to all Brits to paint them all with the rude tourist brush. I say that as an American who has cringed my way around Europe at times when confronted with some of my fellow countrymen and women. Wouldn't want to be compared, so I have learned to be careful to avoid generalizations...just sayin.

                                  I am struggling with learning French and have had some surprises when I thought I had translated a menu item properly.. But to me that's part of the fun...I always refuse the English menu. To each his or her own I guess.

                                  1. re: sistereurope

                                    Well said.
                                    And so often, an Englsh menu is oen sure sign that the place is geared toward tourists.

                                    1. re: Parigi

                                      Yes, that's true. I go out of my way to avoid places with English menus unless the place is well researched and reviewed.
                                      I think that I was most troubled by the fact that the OP used the word "annoying" when complaining about the menu being available only in French. I don't think it's appropriate to use the word annoying when reporting that a restaurant in France only offers French menus, even if it is a hotel. French people also go on vacation.

                                      1. re: sistereurope

                                        "I don't think it's appropriate to use the word annoying when reporting that a restaurant in France only offers French menus"

                                        Completely agree. The world is a real world, not Disneyworld.

                                2. re: Parigi

                                  "For a village to have moer than 10 villages would smack of a tourist setup."

                                  ... and what's special about Goult that is different from Gordes or Bonnieux is just that: what appears to be nothing much is really something...

                        2. re: Parigi

                          Agree with all of Parigi's sound caviats. Crowds, per se, were not our problem on several August visits to Provence, but traffic getting to and parking after we got to many of the enchanted villages was. Once, we found ourselves in the middle of a sportscar rally on a narrow mountain road, and only my husband's nerves of steel prevented some ugly dust-ups, in addition to the additional time it took to cross the pass. So pick places where you think you will be happy, and stay moderately close to them. Even in an air conditioned car, August traffic is not romantic.

                        3. "This thread is the bible for all Provence honeymooners:
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781261"

                          This would make you one of the Provencal gods, Parigi ; )

                          )

                          Congratulations on your honeymoon and, more more importantly, your evolving itinerary. A few comment/suggestions on your itinerary:

                          1. There's nice circular walk between Bonnieux and Lacoste that will give you a good impression of Luberon valley. Here's a link that inspired this walk:
                          http://www.slowtrav.com/france/hiking...

                          2. For Wednesday, I would personally stick around Luberon and not drive up north, especially with the traffic. We did this drive from Maubec to Gigondas, and while scenic and beautiful the drive back was tiring. This was one of the reason we ended up not visiting Vaison. I would suggest visiting Buoux instead and visit the fort and Auberge de la Loube.

                          3. Love your Monday plan! (do Lacoste and Menerbes another day though)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Kurtis

                            "This would make you one of the Provencal gods, Parigi ; ) "

                            Mais non mais non. Your take is all your own. We all envy you and want to have your experience.

                          2. Re: Cannes. You can take the day there and walk up to the church and see the view of Cannes, check out the shops, go to the market, casino, and have a couple good meals. But, I wouldn't waste anymore then a day there. Really there isn't much there. Provence there is so much to do and see that six days isn't going to be enough time. Spend at least two days in Avignon and see all the important sites, although we like to spend a week or more just roaming around and enjoying the outdoor cafes, walking the Rhone and the beauty of the place. Also go to the market and buy yourself some lunch to take for a picnic along the Rhone. Market it fabulous. Les Baux is next to St. Remy de Provence which you can do in an afternoon. In the morning see the Roman ruins in St. Remy on the way to Les Baux and spend lunch in Les Baux. Don't go during the mistrals as it gets very cold and windy there. Cute little place with some nice small shops and a couple good restaurants in the village of Les Baux. St Remy is a must as there is so much to do and see. Good restaurants, the Van Gogh trail to follow, and many shops and more shops to wonder through in the old village area. We spent a week there with side trips to Nimes, Pont du Gard, Aix, and Avignon. I am not familiar with Bonnieux. There is the Luberon with a stay in Apt which I consider the gateway to the Luberon and its villages. That is a week stay in itself. Apt has one of the biggest Saturday markets in Provence outside of Aix. If you only have six days just pick one area and see everything there is to see and then come back the following year and see some more. Learn a little French as the French will appreciate you at least trying to speak their language and they in turn will do their best with their English skills. Bon Voyage and Bon Appetit....

                            1. Both Auberge de la Loube and Auberge du Présbytere are good choices. I was at both (second trip to Buoux) a few years ago. We stayed at a lovely B&B in Saignon and ate twice at the pretty restaurant . I don't think Le Cave was open then. I have never felt so full in my life as after a lunch at Auberge de la Loube. We had to sit on the grass for awhile and recuperate!

                              Many years ago I stayed at Cabro D'Or - wonderful place and gorgeous food, but as I said, it was long ago. I doubt it's changed much and it's so convenient for visiting the old town in Les Baux.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: zuriga1

                                La Petite Cave in Saignon is now the place to be for a superb dining experience...the Auberge
                                for a drink and people watching.

                                1. re: Franco American

                                  We ate there last week. We were all (6) disappointed. Starter was all over the map, as was dessert. The main was OK though. Average wine list. What we thought was well priced ( 29 euro for lunch ) ended up much more once you added in the 6 euro cheese supplement, plus gratuity. It was a surprise to see 'service non compris'. 140 for lunch for 2.

                              2. Sorry to hear about Barbaluc's disappointing lunch at la Petite Cave, as we had an enjoyable dinner last August. What puzzles me is that their website says they are only open for dinner...a similar indication is on la Bartavelle's site. Can anyone tell me if I am I reading something incorrectly? Also note to datapone in case you have not seen the other threads, both the Auberge du Presbytère and le Castelas have closed. Very sad.

                                14 Replies
                                1. re: boredough

                                  The owners have combined La Petite Cave with the bistro (closed ) and changed the food. It is now a combination of both. They were open Easter weekend for lunch - 'ouverture exceptionnel'.
                                  I had heard about the other 2 closing. We are feeling that it is getting harder and harder to eat well mid-range in the Luberon. Just back from 2 days in Tuscany where we had really good meals, at a good price.
                                  Looking forward to dinner tonight at the Auberge des Carrieres in Les Taillades.

                                  1. re: Barbaluc

                                    oh please report back. Looking for some new blood in the neighborhood! Thanks for the Petite Cave clarification.

                                    1. re: boredough

                                      Heartbroken about Saignon without the Auberge du Presbytère AND with a lackluster Petite Cave.

                                      1. re: Parigi

                                        Lackluster? Have you been? The food was full of creativity and good flavor! I must add that it has a romantic atmosphere as well. A nice dinner spot for two....ideal for honeymooners!

                                        1. re: ludutko

                                          "Have you been?"

                                          I have been and liked it. I was referring to the most recent review. Have you read?

                                      2. re: boredough

                                        Boredough, I had dinner at La Petite Cave on Friday evening (opening night) and it was fantastic! See attached photo :) Certainly a nice change from last season’s fixed menu and the price was more than reasonable for what was presented. Barbaluc suggested that the entrées and desserts were all over the map (asparagus with goat’s cheese and beet root is hardly all over the place...I think the other option was a bistro classic duck rillet with fig jam and cornichons). Barbaluc - did you choose one of the more pricier wines on the list? I found it quite reasonable for the prices... Yes, the supplement dishes quickly change the bill, but I've found they are justified for certain ingredients like scallops and special cheeses? What do you think? agree - it’s getting harder and harder to find, but this is a place worth finding.

                                         
                                        1. re: ludutko

                                          I must agree with the favorable comments regarding La Petite Cave as mentioned
                                          by ludutko.Enjoyed a superb Easter Sunday lunch at La Cave as well a splendid
                                          dinner Friday evening. Everything was excellent and beautifully executed.My guest
                                          ordered one of the supplements which increased the bill by a few euros, but it was well worth it for seared scallops,cauliflower puree and curried chick peas.With one bottle of wine the tarif was more than fair.
                                          I've been fortunate to "eat around"...France,Italy,Australia ,Aukland,London,New York,LA,SF and other tasty food capitals... La Cave can hold its own against fine restaurants anywhere... but is superior to most in the Luberon.

                                          1. re: ludutko

                                            Ludutko, By all over the map I mean the tendancy to put too many things on the plate. That's what we felt about the starter and the dessert. This trend is getting tiring to me. The starter was a stack of undercooked beets topped with a warmed chevre and beside that a log cabin of green asparagus. The dessert was a plate with 3 small dishes - mascarpone, chocolate cake ( supposed to be molten but really was a cake! ) and sorbet.
                                            I agree with you that a supplement is appropriate, but 6 euro to go from the local cheese to a banon seems a bit much.
                                            The wine list was not overpriced, but I wish restaurants would look beyond the immediate domaines a bit more. Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Seguret are not really that far away and offer a less expensive option to Chateauneuf du Pape. We drink a fair bit of the local stuff and it is nice when we are eating out to have a broader selection. ( Gouin in Coustellet is a good example. )

                                            1. re: Barbaluc

                                              We've been back to la Petite Cave twice in less than one month, and both meals were fabulous. The 2nd time (9 days ago) the new menu had dropped the €6 surcharge for the banon - which added to my feelings of guilt that the 29€ menu is underpriced for its quality. (Maybe Andrew Goldsby read Barbaluc's post...)

                                              1. re: boredough

                                                Update: just went back again to la Petite Cave and the 6€ supplement for banon was back on the menu....so I asked the manager what was up. He explained that the chef wanted it back on, but that he (the manager) was trying to convince him that supplements should be avoided. We shall see who wins that battle in the future.

                                          2. re: boredough

                                            Dinner at Auberge des Carrieres was excellent. Nice room, good service. We all enjoyed both our starters and mains. Ris de veau, risotto with asperges and prosciutto ( ate better than it sounds ), steak frites ( surprise choice by 2 of us but it was a great cut of meat which is often hard to find in Provence ), carre d'agneau. Nice cheese selection. None of us had dessert. The wine list is short and I think average, but well priced. 35 euro for an entree, main and cheese or dessert.
                                            This was our 4th visit since last summer and can say that it has always been consistent, both for lunch and dinner. That seems to be the challenge for us in this part of the Luberon. We love Jardin du Quai and the setting can't be beat but lately has been hit & miss in the kitchen. Le Vivier has a great kitchen but the setting could be anywhere, so although we eat there often it is not somewhere we take out of town guests. Same for la Coquillade. Good for a drink at sunset, but zero feel of being in Provence.

                                            1. re: Barbaluc

                                              Thanks for the report - we'll be trying the Auberge des Carrières soon! By any chance, have you been to the Bastide de Marie (Ménerbes) or know anyone who's been there lately? We haven't been in about 3 years since our last disappointing dinner there. That, to me, was a very special Provençal experience and I'm still hoping to hear they've gotten their groove back.

                                              1. re: boredough

                                                to Barbaluc: just had dinner at Auberge des Carrières and thought it was terrific. We were a group of 4 and everyone loved their 3 courses. We would definitely go back, so thanks for the recommendation.

                                          3. re: Barbaluc

                                            The Luberon is a posh region with posh eateries, but not only.
                                            The OP lists eateries that tend to be in the memorable category, not the casual good-eats category. It's a honeymoon after all.

                                        2. I would certainly avoid Avignon center in August. There is a lot of good advice here. The Bastide de Capelongue or La Coquillade in Gargas are good choices of hotels...in the heart of the Luberon.

                                          1. I would agree that it's best to avoid Avignon in August! A nightmare with the heat and tourists. You may enjoy La Coquillade in Gargas, a beautiful luxury hotel in a great location for visiting the Luberon.

                                            1. Been to Arles several times and stayed at Hotel l"Particulier. The setting is as romantic as it comes. Out of the bustle of the crowds. Breakfast in the morning under the plane trees and overlooking the charming courtyard and pool. Great place to return in the afternoon after a day of touring to sit by the pool or have a massage. It is conveniently located yet you enter the door into the complex and the world goes away. I'd go there on my honeymoon!

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: saraWM

                                                thanks everyone for all your help. I have all my reservations set now...I'll be sure to follow up with my reviews:

                                                Staying at Le Domaine de Capelongue
                                                •Les Bories in Gordes - Sunday 12 August 1:00PM Lunch
                                                •La Bartavelle in Goult - Monday 13 August 8.30 PM Dinner
                                                •La Petite Cave in Saignon - Tuesday 14 August 9:00PM Dinner
                                                •Le Sanglier Paresseux in Caseneuve - Wednesday 15 August 8.30pm Dinner
                                                •Auberge La Fenière - Thursday 16 August 9:00PM Dinner

                                                Staying at L'Hôtel Particulier
                                                •Chez Rabanel - Friday 17 August 9:30PM Dinner

                                                1. re: datopone

                                                  All sound great. Great.
                                                  Gordes will be mobbed Sunday.
                                                  Have a great honeymoon.

                                                  1. re: Parigi

                                                    Parigi!! C'mmon! just when I think I have it all done & perfected...alas.

                                                    how does the Thursday market at Roussillon compare to the Sunday market at L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue?

                                                    what if I switch around my Thursday & Sunday plans...so now, as follows:
                                                    Sunday -
                                                    -visit Lourmarin & Cucuron
                                                    -visit Ansouis and the Val Joanis vineyard-garden in Perthuis
                                                    -dinner at Auberge La Fenière
                                                    Thursday -
                                                    -visit the market at Roussillon
                                                    -visit Abbey de Senanque or Mur de la Peste
                                                    -lunch at Freme de la Huppe (they're closed Sunday, which is why I was eating at Les Bories)

                                                    1. re: datopone

                                                      The Sunday market in L'isle is a brocante market as well as food. In fact, most of the food there is not from local farmers. It is big & busy and the reason to visit is for the antiques. Always a good outing BUT can be very busy and tough to navigate in the summer. If you go, go early ( 9am ) and get out by 11.
                                                      I would take lunch at Ferme de la Huppe over Les Bories anytime. Nice shaded terrace and better food.
                                                      At that time of year, when making your reservation ask for a table outside. If the restaurant is busy and has both types of seating, they will often reserve their outdoor ( premium ) tables for regulars. You dont want to be eating inside in August. Save that for the fall & winter!

                                                      1. re: Barbaluc

                                                        Ferme de la Huppe did not seat anyone inside - they turned away walk-ins rather than make a table inside. the evenings as I mentioned were glorious and sitting outside at 8, 9, through midnight was pleasant, save the bugs.

                                                      2. re: datopone

                                                        As a near resident of Roussillon I suggest that you'll find the Thursday market not
                                                        particularly exciting.The most splendid of markets is certainly Lourmarin on Friday.
                                                        If he's well enough you just might see Peter Mayle doing his shopping.The market on
                                                        the Isle is still an adventure and a fine souvenir inspite of the crowds.Perhaps you've seen the film "A Good Year."Fanny's cafe in the film was the cafe on the terrace just adjoining to the
                                                        chateau in Gordes...although dressed much diffrently.

                                                        1. re: Franco American

                                                          ok, thanks for the input. sadly, I arrive in Luberon on Saturday and depart on Friday, so I will miss the Lourmarin market altogether :( I'll skip the Roussillon market..thanks for the advice.

                                                        2. re: datopone

                                                          Now you make me feel guilty. I said your plans looked great! After a while, it's all a matter of comparing A-'s and B+'s, you know. :-)

                                                          Sunday -
                                                          -visit Lourmarin & Cucuron
                                                          -visit Ansouis and the Val Joanis vineyard-garden in Perthuis
                                                          -dinner at Auberge La Fenière

                                                          Perfect.

                                                          Thursday

                                                          -visit the market at Roussillon

                                                          Uh oh, many people love Roussillon. I find it too overrun, possibly even more than Gordes. August has its own problem. Places that are normally quite crowded become impratiquables.
                                                          I know, I know: I keep trying to figure out ways for you to avoid the crowd, but considering it's August, maybe you should just embrace the crowd.

                                                          I agree with what Barbaluc said about the Isle market. If it were for my food shopping, I would not choose it. But for a Provençal market to visit and buy soaps and linen and charcuteries, it is uproarious fun. Yes go very early. Also beware of "fake vendors" especially cheese guys who are very nice and urge you to try their cheeses with no price tag. Later you are guilted into buying the most expensive cheeses on the planet.

                                                          -visit Abbey de Senanque or Mur de la Peste

                                                          The Abbey of Sénanque is one of the most harmonious architecture in the world, this side of Beijing's Celestial Temple. Skip the interior that is empty but for a gift shop.
                                                          Since it is the exterior architecture that is most interesting, you may consider seeing it in the evening against the sunset, when there are fewer visitors.

                                                          Mur de la Peste is fascinating historical stuff. It is fun to find the drawings of the creepily masked Medieval doctors. Otherwise it is a nice easy hike but not very scenic. Instead I would opt for the nearby village of Venasque which is very pretty and has a great view, or are you seeing it on another day?

                                                          -lunch at Freme de la Huppe (they're closed Sunday, which is why I was eating at Les Bories)

                                                          Sounds good.
                                                          This is going to be one memorable honeymoon. Remember: don't overdo; don't run the marathon. :-)

                                                          1. re: Parigi

                                                            thanks again Parigi! I think I may just have to embrace the crowds.

                                                  2. Had lunch on Sunday at La Petite Cave ...superb as always!They will continue to do Sunday
                                                    lunch throughout the spring & summer.

                                                    1. I agree with the last post of datopone. This is very good advice. The traffic in Provence and down to the Med is horrendous in August. Good luck to you.

                                                      1. Parigi also has good advice.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: mrsgilly

                                                          Parigi is a treasure trove!

                                                          1. re: datopone

                                                            Absolutely. Next time I'm in Paris, I will try to drag her out for a glass of wine as a thank you.

                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                              i'd be very happy to have a drink with you and Lulu. :-)

                                                              1. re: Parigi

                                                                It's a deal. We'll let you know next time we're coming over.

                                                        2. I don't think anyone has yet mentioned that you should not assume hotels/restos will have air conditioning. Many will, but if it is an important creature comfort (August in Provence can be beastly) you should verify this. (This, coming from someone who wilts.)

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: ScottnZelda

                                                            thanks for the advice. hadn't considered that. what is the dress code at these restaurants? no jacket required, I'm assuming?

                                                            1. re: datopone

                                                              A good shirt is fine.
                                                              For men.

                                                              1. re: Parigi

                                                                ok thanks!!